Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Week of 04/21/2014: No Such Thing as a Bad Run

The hardest part of marathon training for me is to find the balance between active training, getting proper rest, maintaining a good family life, and having a full time job.

By and large since I got into the serious portion of my 2014 Grandma's marathon training, I have been completing all my midweek mileage.  However, this week marked the second time that I have skipped a long run.  This differs from my 2012 TC training, where I did every long run but was notorious for missing out on midweek mileage.

I have reconfigured my long run schedule; fortunately there was still some wiggle room in the ramp up to accommodate missing this week.  But that wiggle room is gone now, and I cannot afford to take any more long runs off.  Hopefully I can complete this training program more or less intact with no further mileage gutting.

Monday 04/21/2014

Scheduled:  6 Mile Recovery Run
When I woke up this morning I still felt  little beat up from yesterday's 8 miler.  I decided to take a rest and will make up the mileage later in the week.

Tuesday 04/22/2014

Scheduled:  6 Miles, 6x100m sprints
34º, Clear. It felt good to go faster after so many recovery runs and marathon pace tempo runs. I ran the sprints faster than 5k pace (I could not have sustained for 3.1 miles) and breezed through the rest of each mile, coming in at a few seconds under my HMP for each.

I felt very good afterwards - little to no stiffening, knees are good, left foot is good, and right plantar fascia has only minimal discomfort.  Overall I think that physically I am in a good place right now.

Wednesday 04/23/2014

Scheduled:  8 Mile Recovery run
44º, Mostly Cloudy.  A good & uneventful run, accompanied by a beautiful sunrise.

Thursday 04/24/2014

Scheduled: 10 Miles, 6 Mile Tempo @ MP
42º, overcast, light rain.  I ran this midweek long run by the book, with a 6 mile tempo @ marathon pace.

It continues to amuse me that my mood can swing so much over the course of a couple of miles; I of course felt fine during the first 4 easy miles, I felt great for the first 4 miles of the tempo, and then in the last 2 I began to struggle a little bit - I was keeping the pace but it wasn't as effortless as the middle of the run was.  And when something stops being effortless, I am inclined to be less enthusiastic about it.

So it's weird how an otherwise "Good" run can be marred by negative thinking.  For me this is one of the reasons that I run with earbuds & listen to music.  As attractive as it may sound on the surface, even I don't want to be stuck alone with me inside my head for too long.

With the unexpected early retirement of the Asics GT-1000's, I have been left vulnerable on the shoe front - I lucked out today that the hard rain didn't start coming down until after I was finished, and thus will have a dry pair of shoes to use tomorrow.   But my luck cannot hold out forever, so I 'expanded the herd' tonight and pulled the trigger on a pair of Nike Air Pegasus (Last year's model) purchased cheaply on eBay.  I needed another pair of shoes anyway, there was no way that I was going to make it all the way through training and then Grandma's on one pair of shoes.

Friday 04/25/2014

Scheduled: XT (Swimming)
32º, Foggy, Calm.  6 mile Recovery run.

I decided to make up the run that I skipped on Monday.  It was a perfect bookend to yesterday's run:  Yesterday I started out fine, felt great in the middle and felt crappy at the end.  Today I started out crappy, felt fine in the middle and felt great at the end.  I don't get to run in fog very often, so today's run was pretty neat.

Saturday 04/26/2014

Scheduled: 16 Mile Long Run
I took today as a rest.  I woke up late and by the time I had my wits about me there was no way that I would be able to get a 16 miler in before my family was up and moving.  We spent the entire day at the Mall of America, celebrating my son's birthday by letting him go on unlimited rides.  We didn't get home until 10PM; by then it was raining and I had no interest in running both in the dark and in the rain, when my bed was right there and so inviting.

Sunday 04/27/2014

Scheduled: REST
Given the late night (By my tame standards, at least) the night before, I slept in and got my rest today.  I had it half in my head to maybe get out for an easy run in the afternoon for at least some of the mileage that I skipped yesterday.  But by afternoon it was not only raining but thundering as well.  I ignored that fact that I have a treadmill in the basement and took my rest day as planned.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Week of 04/14/2014: A watched pot never boils.

I got in 44 miles this week, and for the first time in 3 weeks, all of my scheduled miles, though not on the days of in the format that I had scheduled them.

It's 9 weeks out from Grandma's; I still have a lot of work to do before then.

Monday 04/14/2014

Scheduled:  6 Mile Recovery Run
One thing that I've noticed is that with my recovery runs they seem painfully slow.  So slow that it is actually difficult to maintain the pace without constantly looking at my watch and slowing down or taking a break.  So for today's run just for fun I opted to not look at my watch a single time throughout the run.  I could still feel my lap alert buzz so that I'd know when another mile had passed, but I made no effort at all to monitor my pacing.  I just ran at the speed that I felt like.

It was still a recovery run, mind you, so the effort level was very minimal.  Basically I slowed to a walk at the top of every mile to take a pull from the water bottle, and I took a minute or so (Again not looking at my watch) walk break somewhere in the middle of each mile.  The result?  I was within a second of my normal recovery run pace!

I guess it's true what they say how a watched pot never boils.

Tuesday 04/15/2014

Scheduled:  10 Miles, 5 Mile Tempo @ GMP
18º, Clear. At the halfway point I started a 3 mile tempo @ marathon pace, the last 2 I kicked up to HMP.

I use the term HMP loosely, because while I know for fact that I could hold my half marathon pace over a continuous 13.1 mile run, to start with an easy five miles and then turn up the heat like that made the same pace feel cruel and unusual by the end of the run.

It felt good to finish; those are exactly the kind of workouts that non-runners tend to look at only for the physical returns on the investment.   But the value of 'mental toughness' workouts cannot be dismissed.

Wednesday 04/16/2014

Scheduled:  XT (Swimming)
The pool is closed on Good Friday, so I moved my XT workout to today and scheduled a recovery run for Friday morning.  It seems my XT laziness follows me to whatever day I schedule it, as I woke up, could have actually made it to the pool today but instead said, "Forget it" and re-set my alarm for a more reasonable wake up time.  In my defense yesterday's workout was pretty hard and I really did need the rest.  It seems pretty obvious by now that I need two rest days per week, not the one that I have scheduled.

On other (cold) fronts, it's SNOWING today.    Depending on how much of it comes down as rain and/or melts, we could get 3-5".  I have no idea yet how that is going to affect my scheduled tempo run for tomorrow, will have to keep my fingers crossed.

Thursday 04/17/2014

Scheduled: 8 Miles, 6 Mile Tempo @ HMP
We got around 6" of wet, heavy snow yesterday into this morning, forcing me to stay indoors.  Since long treadmill runs drive me nuts I kept it down to 6 miles today with a 5 mile tempo @ HMP.  I definitely take less of a beating on the treadmill and felt surprisingly fresh post-run.  I am seriously considering doing all my speed workouts on the 'mill.

Friday 04/18/2014

Scheduled: 6 Mile Recovery Run
The sidewalks outside were still pretty sloppy, and I wasn't too keen on the idea of another day on the treadmill.

I'll admit it, I slept in and skipped my run today.

Saturday 04/19/2014

Scheduled: 14 Mile Long Run
44º, partly cloudy.  I actually felt better throughout and at the end of this run than I did for the 12 miler the week before.  I ran the first 8 at recovery pace and then the final 6 as a marathon pace tempo.

I stiffened up quite a bit afterward, but the days plans (Easter egg hunts for the kids and what have you) kept me on my feet and moving around for a good portion of the day.  I managed to lay down and rest for an hour or so in the afternoon.  When I got up and after loosening my stiff right plantar fascia, everything was good - I felt "normal."

When I trained for Twin Cities in 2012 the long runs would knock me out for the rest of the day, both physically and emotionally.  So it was a pretty cool feeling to bounce back.

Sunday 04/20/2014 - Happy Easter

Scheduled: REST
Since I took Friday off I decided to get in an 8 mile recovery run in the evening.  It was 75º and sunny, shorts and T-Shirt weather.  It was just a little too far to run on just one water bottle, yet short enough to seem a little silly to use the camelback.  Between the slight dehydration toward the end and yesterday's soreness re-emerging, I was a little uncomfortable by the end of the run.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Week of 04/07/2014: Exhaustion:1, Dread:0

Winter has actually been banished from our lands.  The snow is melted everywhere except for small patches that cling shamefully to the north side of houses.  That is not to say that seasonal afflictions are not still running rampant across our lands; my daughter was good enough to share her cold with me.  The affliction made an attempt to migrate into my lungs, which kept me off the roads for two days this week.  I managed to beat it back, and ended the week on my longest run of the year so far.

Monday 04/07/2014

Scheduled:  6 Mile Recovery Run
I opted to sleep in in the morning, and with my skipped Friday & Saturday workouts from last week it looked like I was perched to go plunging headlong back into the abyss of laziness.  but the weather today was phenomenal, and I opted to get my run in after work.  It was beautiful running weather, all but the last mile the sun was high enough to keep me warm and my sunglasses on.

I did wear the Asics GT-1000' for this run, and even though things didn't bother me too much during the run, the stiffness the next day convinced me that it is definitely the shoes that have been causing the problem.

Tuesday 04/08/2014

Scheduled:  10 Miles, 8 Mile Tempo @ GMP
I knew as soon as I woke up that running in the Asics yesterday had been a mistake.  It felt like somebody had been working over my right heel and plantar fascia with a pickax while I was sleeping.  I did my gentle stretches and was able to get things down to a dull roar.  I donned my gear, laced up the Nike Lunar glides and headed out the door.

I took it especially easy in the first couple of miles, and allowed everything the time it needed to loosen up.  The plan was to start an 8 mile tempo at the two mile mark but I really didn't feel up to it.   Instead I changed my plan to start the tempo at the 5 mile mark and just make it a 5.  About midway through the third mile I surmised that it was taking a lot more effort than it should have been to hold my pace, so at mile 8 I backed off to recovery pace for the last 2 miles.

I'm not sure how much of it can be chalked up to sore feet and how much to just general crappy feeling from getting over a cold, but in any event it wasn't my best day out there today.  But in the end I did get the run in, and a three mile tempo is better than a zero mile tempo.

Wednesday 04/09/2014

Scheduled:  6 Mile Recovery Run
As of last night my cough was getting more and more persistent; I decided that discretion was the better part of valor and pulled the plug on my planned run for today.  By this evening I loaded up on Nyquil  & decided to set my alarm for tomorrow and see how I feel in the morning.

Thursday 04/10/2014

Scheduled: 8 Miles, 6 Mile Tempo @ HMP
I woke up at 4AM, ahead of my alarm.  I was still pretty loopy from the cold meds, also I had that tingly feeling that I get in my legs, that in my imagination I equate to the sensation that accompanies the microtears in my muscles knitting themselves back together and getting stronger.  I have no idea if that is what is really going on or not, but it is a nice vision and who am I to argue with positive thinking?

In any event between my buzzing head and my tingling legs, I decided to re-set the alarm, sleep in and skip running this morning.  The plan for the rest of the week is to get in my swim tomorrow morning, my long run in on Saturday and do a makeup recovery run on Sunday.

Friday 04/11/2014

Scheduled: XT (Swimming)
OK so that Nyquil is serious stuff.  Two nights in a row where I took it, woke up once in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, and when it was time to actually wake up, was nowhere to be found.  By the time I actually regained consciousness this morning I had been snoozing my alarm for over an hour and I was supposed to already be in the locker room getting ready to swim, not still at home in my bed.

I plan to get back on track with my regularly scheduled long run tomorrow and a makeup run on Sunday.  I haven't decided if that will be a recovery run or to make up the missed tempo run yesterday or not; a lot of that will depend upon how I feel after the long run.

Saturday 04/12/2014

Scheduled: 12 Mile Long Run
47º, Overcast, rainy & windy.  After a couple of days off it felt really good to get back out on the road again.  That temperature was deceptive, I nearly attempted this run in shorts.  But somewhere in the back of my mind I thought to myself about how cold it can get over the course of a long run.  The back of my mind and my ass must be closely connected, because my ass thanked me later.  the rain was very light and didn't bother me much, though with the wind the dampness made things a little uncomfortable, even in tights.

I did somewhat make up the missed Thursday workout insofar as I opted to make the last 4 miles of this run a tempo @ marathon pace.  Strange thoughts permeate my mind during long runs, especially in the later stages.  I had mapped out my course on Google; I knew that it was a 12 mile course.  But somewhere in my head when I got within a mile of home this thought emerged (perhaps more a sense of dread than a thought), that I was only going to cover 11 miles instead of the 12 that I had planned.

As  I got closer and closer to home I started thinking about a trail loop up ahead, that I should hang a right on it & add another mile onto my run to ensure that I covered the distance.  I don't know whether or not I had temporarily lost my faculties due to exhaustion brought on by the tempo run, but I can say for certain that it was the exhaustion brought on by the tempo run that caused me to keep going straight when the trail presented itself.  You could have told me that there was a pot of gold 50 yards down the trail and I wouldn't have turned for it.

Not long after that the lap alarm went off on my watch:  12 miles.  Exhaustion:1, Dread:0.

Sunday 04/13/2014

Scheduled: REST
Earlier in the week I had notions of running a makeup run today.  I certainly woke up early enough to get a run in.  But as I lay in bed doing circles with my feet and checking for aches and pains I determined that my tired feet and ankles would benefit more from the rest than they would from the miles.  So, I stuck with the planned event of the day, which was to rest.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Week of 03/31/2014: Seriously.

Out of base building phase, Tempo runs begin!

Monday 03/31/2014

Scheduled:  5 Mile Recovery Run
46º, Overcast.  This recovery run went quite well - It was my first run in my new Nike Lunarglides.  I don't know if it was the new shoes or all the stretching that I did on my rest day yesterday, but there were no real issues during the run today - nice and smooth the whole way through.  I still look at the soles of those Nikes and wonder how on earth they are going to last for 500 miles; they seem way too soft to survive that long.

Tuesday 04/01/2014

Scheduled:  7 Mile Tempo Run 5 @ HMP
My daughter has been sick again this week so I was up a good chunk of the night with her.  I ended up sleeping in and doing this run in the early evening.  It was nice to run in the sunshine and actually wear sunglasses.  My right heel started acting up mid to late in the run.  I kept my HMP throughout the tempo portion; aside from the foot discomfort it was a good workout.

Wednesday 04/02/2014

Scheduled:  6 Mile Recovery Run
Right plantar fascia was super tender this morning, even more so than usual.  I did lots of stretching and soul searching, and in the end went out and did this run.  It was slow going (By design) and things loosened up a couple of miles in.  But that right heel never really felt "Good," and tightened up again not long after I finished.

Thursday 04/03/2014

Scheduled: 10 Mile Midweek Long Run
37º, Overcast. It could just be me, but I think that I feel a lot better running in the Nike Lunar glides than I do in the Asics.

Making time for a 10 miler on a workday morning is no small thing for me.  When I turned off the lamp on my side of the bed at 9:30 last night, my wife's eyebrow went up.  She wanted to know why I was turning in so early.  I told her that I planned on getting up at 3:30 for a long run, and the last thing I remember her saying before I drifted off was, "You're nuts."  As  I got dressed in the dark a few hours later, she rolled over, looked at me and stated, "So you are serious." and promptly fell back asleep.

A 10 miler in the dark on a midweek morning is as serious as you can get.  My last marathon experience (The training program and the whole thing) started out with a lot of promise; I had the end in mind, and hung on to that mental imagery up to and well into the race, when my physical limitations finally brought my daydreams crashing down.  Starting is easy; the end is what we make of it.  It is the middle, all the drudgery miles run on lonely roads in the early morning, that allow for those dramatic finish line crossings that we all daydream about.  But to run those middle miles we have to be serious.


Friday 04/04/2014

Scheduled: XT (Swimming)
Old man winter got one last laugh in overnight.  For all I know the pool was open, but I had no interest in getting up and trudging in.  I took it as a rest day instead.

Saturday 04/05/2014

Scheduled: 12 Mile Long Run
Between the standing snow outside and a mild cold that I have been fighting I opted to skip this run.  I adjusted the ramp-up of my subsequent long runs in my plan accordingly. I was briefly tempted to do makeup mileage on the treadmill today and tomorrow but opted against it.

Sunday 04/06/2014

Scheduled: REST